Tax Preparation Help  
FAQ Keyword 1 2006 Tax Year

Keyword: 10% Additional Tax (Penalty)

I received a lump-sum distribution when I retired. Is there any special tax treatment on a lump-sum distribution?

You may be able to elect optional methods of figuring the tax on lump-sum distributions you received from a qualified retirement plan.

A lump-sum distribution is the distribution or payment, within a single tax year, of an employee's entire balance from all of the employer's qualified pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plans. The distribution must have been made under specific conditions. For details, refer to Tax Topic 412 which discussesLump-Sum Distributions or Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income.


If taxes are withheld from my 401(k) distribution, do I have to include that money as income and do I pay the 10% early withdrawal fee as well?

Yes, you need to include in income the total amount of your 401(k) distribution reported on Form 1099-R (PDF), Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement on Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs Insurance Contracts, etc. In addition, if the distribution occurs before you are age 59 1/2, you may need to pay a 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans unless you meet one of the exceptions in Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income. You will include the federal income tax withheld on the appropriate line of your federal tax return along with any other federal income tax.


Can I withdraw funds penalty free from my 401(k) plan to purchase my first home?

If you are under the age of 59 1/2, you cannot withdraw funds from your 401(k) plan to purchase your first home without being subject to a 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans. However, depending on the rules for your 401(k) plan, you may be able to borrow money from your 401(k) plan to purchase your first home. Your plan administrator should have written information about your particular plan that explains when you can borrow funds from your 401(k) plan as well as other plan rules.


I changed jobs and my old employer sent me a check for my 401(k) money withholding 20% for Federal Income Tax. I rolled over the distribution to my 401(k) plan at my current employer within 60 days. Since money was withheld from the 401(k) distribution, do I have to include that money as income?

If the amount rolled over was the net amount, that is, the amount of the distribution less the tax withheld, then the 20% withholding amount not rolled over is included in gross taxable income and may be subject to a 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans. Use Form 5329 (PDF), Additional Taxes on Other Qualified Plans (including IRA's), and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, to report the penalty.

If the amount rolled over was the gross amount, that is, you added an amount equal to the withholding to the amount that was rolled over, you would not add any of that amount to gross taxable income this year or owe a 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans.


If I retire or am laid off before I am 59 1/2, can I withdraw the funds accumulated in a 401(k) plan, without having to pay a 10% penalty?

In most cases, if you withdraw funds from your 401(k) plan before you are 59 1/2, you must pay the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans on any amounts that are not rolled into an IRA. However, there are some exceptions listed in Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business, and Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income.


My understanding is that if I am over age 55 and default on a loan through my 401(k) plan when leaving the company, the 10% penalty is forgiven. Can you confirm that for me?

If you default on a loan from your 401(k) plan, you are considered to have received a distribution from your 401(k) plan. Whether or not you will have to pay the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from 401(k) plan depends on a number of factors, including your age.

In order to avoid the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plans, the following all must be true:

  • you received the distribution after you left the company; and
  • you left the company during or after the calendar year in which you reached age 55; and
  • your departure from the company qualifies as a separation from service.
In addition, you may avoid the 10 percent additional tax if you meet one of the other exceptions shown in Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business, and Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income.


How long do I have to roll over a retirement distribution?

You must complete the rollover by the 60th day following the day on which you receive the distribution. (This 60-day period is extended for the period during which the distribution is in a frozen deposit in a financial institution). The IRS may waive the 60 day requirement where failure to do so would be against equity or good conscience, such as in the event of a casualty, disaster, or other event beyond your reasonable control. To obtain the waiver in most cases, a request for a letter ruling must be made which include the applicable user fee. Refer to Internal Revenue Bulletin 2007-01 to get the Internal Revenue Procedure for requesting a letter ruling. A written explanation of rollover must be given to you by the issuer making the distribution. For information on distributions which qualify for rollover treatment, refer to Tax Topic 413, Rollovers from Retirement Plans. For information on the Direct Rollover Option, refer to Chapter 1 of Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRA's).


How long do I have to roll over a distribution from a retirement plan to an IRA account?

You must complete the rollover by the 60th day following the day on which you receive the distribution. (This 60-day period is extended for the period during which the distribution is in a frozen deposit in a financial institution.) The IRS may waive the 60 day requirement in certain situations, such as in the event of a casualty, disaster, or other event beyond your reasonable control. To obtain a waiver, a request for a ruling must be made including the applicable user fee. Refer to Tax Regs in English to get the Internal Revenue Procedure for requesting a ruling. A written explanation of rollover must be given to you by the issuer making the distribution. For information on distributions which qualify for rollover treatment, refer to Tax Topic 413, Rollovers from Retirement Plans. For information on the Direct Rollover Option, refer to Chapter 1 of Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).


If I can't withdraw funds penalty free from my 401(k) plan to purchase my first home, can I roll it over into an IRA and then withdraw that money to use as my down payment?

Yes, if you are receiving a distribution from a 401(k) that is eligible to roll over into a IRA and you meet all of the qualifications for an IRA distribution for a first-time homebuyer. Your plan administrator is required to notify you before making a distribution from your 401(k) plan whether that distribution is eligible to be rolled over into an IRA. To see if you qualify for a distribution to be used as a first-time homebuyer, refer to Chapter 1 of Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).


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